Building the Country’s First PK-14 STEAM Campus

Students at Maury County schools in Tennessee collaborate on STEAM projects across grade levels, propelling them to true career paths.

Educators in Maury County knew they needed to revitalize learning in their schools. So they started to think outside the box.

Starting in 2015, they began using a model that blends project-based learning and STEM education with the arts. The final result was STEAM, interweaving science with the humanities. Educators focused this new method of learning in a community of schools in the small town of Mt. Pleasant.

With the guidance of the new Mt. Pleasant High School principal Dr. Ryan Jackson, educators launched a PK-14 STEAM campus dubbed the Mt. Pleasant Arts Innovation Zone, a new era of collaboration between the local schools.

“We wanted the kids to start thinking like creators,” Jackson said.

The town’s elementary, middle, and high school buildings were a stone’s throw from each other, with a community center in the middle. Under Jackson’s leadership, that proximity became synergized, with teams of students working together across the three schools.

Older students working on a project could share what they learned with younger students, who in turn could complete projects that corresponded with their skill set. The end result was a districtwide achievement that everyone could take pride in.

“Our kids will be able to put NASA on their resume,” said Armin Begtrup, the STEM director at Mt. Pleasant High School. “That is awesome.”

This is only an excerpt. In the full article, you’ll learn:

  • How educators made the landmark shift to project-based learning and STEAM
  • How Discovery Education’s services became the “battery in the back” for Maury County’s STEAM transition
  • How students used drones to target the Zika virus, landing them an international grant


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